Food waste trial in St Neots displaying good results

Loves Farm in St Neots resident Lara Davenport-Ray shows how to dispose of your food waste correctly.

Lara Davenport-Ray shows how to dispose of your food waste correctly. - Credit: Lara Davenport-Ray

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) launched a food waste trial in September last year at Love's Farm, in St Neots, to encourage more residents to send food waste to compost via their green bins and not in their grey bins.

Disposing of food waste in a grey bin means it is sent to a landfill site where it decomposes unnaturally and releases harmful methane gas, whereas disposing of food waste with garden waste ensures a natural decomposition. 

HDC waste minimisation support officer Danette O’Hara, said: “Food waste is a very valuable resource. At the end of the process, the compost created can then be used to fertilise soils, adding carbon back into the ground. This is a massive win-win.”   

One thousand properties were split into two geographical groups for the trial and provided with kitchen caddies. One group was also given a pack of paper liners to last for the 26-week duration of the trial. 

So far, the trial results have been extremely positive, with a 21.74-tonne reduction in the amount of refuse collected in the first 12 weeks of the trial compared to the same 12 week period last year.

At the halfway stage of the trial in December, 146 residents responded to a survey administered by the HDC, providing feedback.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents did not use their green bins for food waste before the trial, but now, only 14 per cent (20) of respondents still use their grey bin for food waste.

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Participant in the trial and Green Party member Lara Davenport-Ray said: "It’s been really interesting to see the reaction of my fellow residents who live in my neighbourhood and just how much it has opened up their eyes a little bit about how much food waste they create.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the halfway results. I was expecting to see a change but maybe not such a big measurable change. 

“More people who never thought about it before at all are thinking about it now."

Seventy-two per cent of respondents said they found the trial useful, and some have started to change their shopping, cooking and eating habits, also attributing to the reduction in general waste collected.

Danette added: “The findings are being discussed at the moment to see if we are able to widen the trial to more areas over the next year, which we are hopeful of.”